Airline Mileage Award Comparison: Big Differences In Miles & Surcharges Between Programs


Today we’d like to remind readers that it really pays off to compare the prices for awards with different programs when booking mileage tickets as differences are vast and those who have different points currencies can save big!

For a quick Intra European flight from Rome to Frankfurt I just looked at different options of ticketing this flight both at paid rates or with miles.

Sometimes it can indeed be better to just pay rather than using miles but this instance was more difficult as I needed a somewhat flexible ticket and unless one is prepared to fork out a lot more money, a mileage ticket is the best.

The current case is for a flight in the fall from Rome to Frankfurt following a cruise in the Mediterranean and Lufthansa was the preferred option for this (hoping they will actually operate two months from now).

I first checked the paid option:

The price of 163,48 Euro isn’t too bad but it’s a short flight and I need some flexibility in case of changes.

I will have baggage for this particular trip so booking the cheapest fare isn’t an option as Lufthansa doesn’t give baggage on these fares even for their Senator and other Star Gold members. Furthermore, none of these ticket options including Economy Flex is fully refundable.

I decided to check for a mileage ticket instead as I have currently currency with three programs: Lufthansa Miles&More, United Mileage Plus and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.

First the option with Lufthansa Miles&More:

17,000 miles for a short one-way is expensive even though the surcharges are moderate at 35,48 EUR.

Next up to compare was Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer:

12,500 miles are better but 70,48 Euro taxes and various fees is even more (double) than what Lufthansa charges. How is that even possible??

The last option was United Mileage Plus:

Wow: 8,800 miles and just $31.70 in taxes, I think we have a winner here!

The United option was even more attractive especially as I still had a second UA account I’m taking care of with slightly over 9000 miles in it so I used this secondary account to issue the ticket.

The award was issued and ticket by United almost immediately and I was able to select a seat on Lufthansa’s website.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t add my Senator number to the reservation right now as LH has removed that option some time ago. I might have to call for that but given the chaos with flights in Europe, I’ll refrain from that at the moment.


This flight from Rome to Frankfurt had a variety of booking options for me and in the end I decided for a mileage booking for the sake of cost and flexibility. As this example shows it pays off to have a range of points currencies available at various programs to try it out and play around a little.

Mileage tickets generally include seat reservations, baggage allowance and can be changed if there’s availability or canceled against a fee (or free in case of schedule changes). This was the perfect solution for me.

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